Mario Naves reviews Paintings by George Stubbs from the Yale Center for British Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, on view through November 8, 2015.
Naves writes: "The most unified picture [in the exhibition] is Newmarket Heath, with a Rubbing Down House (ca. 1765), in which figures of any sort are absent. The brutalist authority of the title structure is quelled by a gentle—dare one say “tender”?—suffusion of afternoon light. Stubbs never let the painting leave the studio, sensing, perhaps, that he’d achieved something closer to poetry than mere hard-won verisimilitude. For that one grace note alone, the Met’s jewel-box exhibition of Stubbs’s work is worth a visit."